On Saturday our team left Mersin to go on our surprise road trip. As our trip started very early in the morning, we had the chance to see breathtaking scenes along the way. We also passed through beautiful cities around Turkey like Ankara and drove past fascinating lakes like Tuz. Along the way, we excitedly tried many times to figure out our destination. We used some hints like the duration of the road trip and our current location on Google Maps along the way, but they were not enough at the beginning to come with a good guess!
We had fun with our team building activities on the way. The first activity was about telling each other the different characteristics of two people we admire. The second part of this activity was discovering which of those characteristics matched what we aspire to be. The second activity was another page-turning story. Our story this time started to be about sea turtles then daisies and again, our favorite, unicorns!
We had few stops along the way to buy some snacks, and we took some amazing photos together next to an incredibly huge mountain. When we started to get closer to our destination, the guessing game was on fire! Hana, Sarah and I were trying desperately to figure it out. Melissa finally confirmed our guesses and told us that our destination is ISTANBUL! I was, personally, super excited about it!
We explored amazing touristic areas in Istanbul like Sultanahmet area and Al-Fatih area. We also visited Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and Basilica cistern. In Basilica cistern, we had the chance to take a picture together wearing fancy dresses like Ottoman princesses, which was one of the most beautiful memories we made on this trip. During our exploration, we were walking on foot most of the time, which made our experience even more enjoyable.
The next morning before we headed back to Mersin, our team met with an international NGO in Istanbul to explore possible collaboration opportunities with A Global Voice for Autism. The opportunities look promising…stay tuned! In the afternoon, we drove back to Mersin with great enthusiasm for the next day, which was the first day of the program to meet parents and teachers in the school. Although we arrived home at 4 in the morning, we were anxious to wake up a few hours later to meet with the families.